Odds On Who: Peter Capaldi emerges as favouriteBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
As this year's Christmas Special moves into production, speculation continues as to who will replace Matt Smith as the Doctor by the end of the festive adventure. This week saw a surge of interest in Peter Capaldi, with odds on the actor rapidly dropping to now make him the favourite to continue in the TARDIS.

Joe Crilly, a spokesman for betting company William Hill, said:
Peter Capaldi was not even in our list a few days ago but he has been the subject of a lot of betting interest recently and this gamble would suggest that if he does not have the part already, he is almost certainly on the shortlist.

Capaldi is best known as the acerbic Malcolm Tucker from The Thick Of It, though he has appeared in Doctor Who before as Roman merchant Lucius Caecilius in The Fires of Pompeii, and more prominently as the Home Office Permanent Secretary John Frobisher in Torchwood: Children of Earth.

The actor revealed he was a fan of the show back in 2008 when he spoke to SFX about his forthcoming appearance in Pompeii:
When I was a kid, being a huge fan, I wrote numerous letters to the Doctor Who office largely inquiring about how the show was made. I was thrilled to have delivered to me a large package from the BBC containing two full studio scripts for the Jon Pertwee serial The Mutants, which they were making at the time. The package also contained set designs and studio floor plans for these episodes and a delightful letter from Barry Letts giving me an idea what all this stuff was. It was a fantastic exciting insight into both Doctor Who and television production generally. I had never seen a script in any form whatsoever before then and was immediately fascinated by the documents. And of course Barry’s kindness was a trigger to my ambition to work somehow (I didn’t know how) in TV. The scripts are still sitting on my bookshelf downstairs.
In light of his sudden association with the role, the Radio Times has also found an archive letter from a 15-year old Peter Capaldi congratulating them on the 10th Anniversary Special!

Odds had been temporarily suspended on 9th June, with betting company Coral informing Doctor Who News that "We've suspended betting on the next Doctor Who, following a rush of bets on Rory Kinnear in the last 24 hours.". This came about after Sunday newspapers such as the Telegraph had reported that the actor had been offered the role. Kinnear strongly denied this, saying:
I don’t know where it came from and how these things evolve - I haven’t been, and I am totally certain that I will not, be asked to be the next Doctor Who. If I was an actor who was really longing to play Doctor Who, then this would be torturous, but it’s a programme I’ve never watched, so I don’t even really know what it is.
Any likelihood of his casting seems to have been quashed this morning after the announcement of his lead role in ITV's Lucan, which films next month.

Chris Addison as the Doctor, Mock The Week, June 2013 (Credit: BBC)June also saw another favourite emerge with Capaldi's co-star in The Thick of It, Chris Addison, causing William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams to observe:
We have seen a good old fashioned gamble on Chris Addison today, with a number of three figure bets placed. Gambles such as these normally have some substance and I would think he is on the shortlist.
It is believed that the flurry of interest in the actor came about after singer Paloma Faith tweeted "A friend who works on Doctor Who says that Chris Addison is replacing Matt Smith - WOW". Acknowledging the interest in his potential as the Doctor, the comic actor appeared during the recording of the comedy news panel show Mock The Week in suitable attire (however this was not shown on its transmission on 13th June).
Another suggestion via the media has been Green Wing actor Julian Rhind-Tutt, which The Sun reported was on the shortlist after missing out on the role last time around to Matt Smith. The same article also suggests that Torchwood actor Burn Gorman (Owen Harper) is another contender for the role.

Luther star Idris Elba ruled himself out of the running, with the Radio Times reporting that when asked at the preview (20 June) he joked: "I’d look silly in a bow tie!". Meanwhile, on television David Harewood told Loose Women (ITV, 18 June): "It would be really difficult to turn down, it would be very exciting if the phone rang - but I doubt it!"

Former companion Bonnie Langford was asked on The Wright Stuff (C5, 28 June), if she thought the show would work with a female lead:
The thing about Doctor Who, the reason it's been successful is that it has no limits, and basically it's a story about good overcoming evil - and to be honest you could probably do anything with it. As long as it's written well - they've proved in this new series it is the writing and the production and the casting that makes it good - so to be honest as long as you write it with a certain sense of integrity and fun, I think it could survive anything.
John Barrowman commented at the recent San Diego Comic Con:
I think it's about time that we have a female Doctor, because the majority of the fans are girls, let's have a girl and see what happens - because if it doesn't work, the beauty of Doctor Who is that (they can use) regeneration and out you go!
However, Helen Mirren flatly denied that she would be the first female Doctor when asked on Daybreak (ITV, 3 July):
I'm not going to be the first female Doctor, absolutely not. I wouldn't contemplate that. But, I do think it's time to have a female Doctor - I think a gay, black, female Doctor Who would be the best of all!

Current Odds

The Independent give odds on Capaldi as the Doctor at 2/1, followed by Ben Daniels (4/1), Rory Kinnear (6/1), Ben Whishaw (10/1), and David Harewood (10/1). Meanwhile, at the time of writing online betting site Unibet give odds for Capaldi at 3/1, Daniels (also 3/1), Kinnear (7/2), Harewood and Chiwetel Ejiofor (both 9/1), and Wishaw and Colin Salmon (both 11/1); Betfair offer Capaldi at 19/10, Colin Morgan (47/11), Daniels and Julian Rhind-Tutt (both 19/4), Kinnear (57/10), Chris Addison (113/17), and Wishaw, Russell Tovey, Tom Ellis, Bill Bailey, Anthony Head and Idris Elba (all at 94/11).

FILTER: - Twelfth Doctor - Betting/Odds

Anniversary Episode on New Zealand's Prime TVBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 - Reported by Paul Scoones
New Zealand's Prime television channel has posted a statement on Facebook regarding the 50th Anniversary Special.
Doctor Who fans! Fear not, we will be playing the 50th Anniversary Special. Phew. However, we are still awaiting details from the BBC which will determine when we can transmit. As soon as we have any more information, we'll be sure to pass it along.
BBC Worldwide issued a statement last week in which they announced an intention to simultaneously broadcast the Anniversary Special internationally.

What this means for New Zealand viewers is that if - hypothetically - the Special screens in the UK on Saturday 23rd November at 7pm, the episode would be seen on Prime on Sunday 24th November at 8am.

It remains unclear at this stage whether the episode will in fact screen at the same time in New Zealand. Prime has addressed this in a follow-up statement:
We haven't had any confirmation that simulcast is the BBC's plan - they have not confirmed that with us. If that is an option, we need to know the time and the content because if it comes in early morning, it needs to have a G rating, when usually Doctor Who has a stronger rating. As we said, we'll pass any new info on as it's confirmed.
In New Zealand, new series episodes of Doctor Who invariably receive a PGR (Parental Guidance Recommended) rating, which makes them unsuitable for an early morning timeslot on Prime.

FILTER: - Day of the Doctor - International Broadcasting - New Zealand - Broadcasting

An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV LegendBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 - Reported by Marcus
Sign on the dotted line
The sixteenth in our series of features telling the story of the creation of Doctor Who, and the people who made it happen.

Production is now well underway on the new science-fiction series, and with the first filming just a couple of months away it was time to announce the cast.

It was on Wednesday 31st July 1963, exactly fifty years ago today, that the four main cast members were issued with their contracts.
William Hartnell will play The Doctor

William Hartnell is a film and Television actor well known for his 'tough guy' performances in several British films of the 1950's.

He was born William Henry Hartnell in the St Pancras district of London on 8th January 1908. England, His mother was unmarried and he was brought up partly by a foster mother. Through his membership of a boys' boxing club he met the art collector Hugh Blaker, who took an interest in the lad and became his unofficial guardian. As a keen follower of the theatre, Blaker helped the young Hartnell enter the Italia Conti Academy.

Hartnell entered the theatre in 1925 as a general stagehand. He appeared in a number of Shakespeare plays, including The Merchant of Venice (1926), Julius Caesar, As You Like It, Hamlet, The Tempest, Macbeth. He also appeared in She Stoops to Conquer, School for Scandal and Good Morning, Bill, before performing in Miss Elizabeth's Prisoner in 1928. It was in this play he worked with the actress Heather McIntyre whom Hartnell married the following year.

Hartnell made appearances in more than sixty British films, taking his first role in the 1932 film Say It With Music. Other roles included Freddy Fordum in Swinging the Lead , Pat Spencer in Nothing Like Publicity and Stubbs in Midnight at Madame Tussaud's. The outbreak of war in 1939 saw Hartnell join the Tank Corps where he served for eighteen months before being invalided out as the result of suffering a nervous breakdown.

Hartnell returned to acting playing a number of bit parts in several war time moves. In 1944 his career reached a turning point when he was cast as Sergeant Ned Fletcher in Carol Reed's film The Way Ahead. His success in playing the tough Army sergeant led to a career playing mainly policemen, soldiers, and thugs. He played the eponymous Sergeant in the first ever Carry on film, Carry on Sergeant. Other roles included a town councillor in the Boulting brothers' film Heavens Above! and Will Buckley in the film The Mouse That Roared alongside Peter Sellers.

In the early 1960's he was best known to British TV audiences for another army role, as Sergeant Major Percy Bullimore in The Army Game. In 1963 he won the role of 'Dad' Johnson in the film This Sporting Life. In the film he played an aging rugby league talent scout, a performance which caught the attention of Doctor Who producer Verity Lambert and Director Waris Hussein who asked Hartnell to play The Doctor.
Carole Ann Ford will play Susan

Carole Ann Ford is a film and Television actress who has appeared in several British TV dramas.

Carole Ann Ford was born in June 1940 and first appeared in a film at the age of eight. After appearing in a number of commercials and walk-on work, her first proper role was in the play Women of the Streets.

She appeared in the TV Movie Expresso Bongo and had roles in Horrors of the Black Museum, Probation Officer, The Ghost Train Murder, Emergency-Ward 10, Dixon of Dock Green, No Hiding Place, Crying Down the Lane, The Day of the Triffids, Mix Me a Person, Harpers West One, The Punch and Judy Man and Z-Cars.

It was her performance in Z-Cars that let her to being tested for the role of Susan in Doctor Who.
Jacqueline Hill will play Barbara

Jacqueline Hill is a British actress known for a number of character roles on television.

She was born Grace Jacqueline Hill on 17th December 1929 in Birmingham. She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made her stage debut in London's West End in The Shrike.

Hill first appeared on TV in 1953 playing Maureen in The Blue Parrot. Other roles included Grace Carney in Blood Money, Carrie Dean in Joyous Errand and Ellen Ferguson in The Flying Doctor.

In 1958 she married top director Alvin Rakoff, who cast her opposite Sean Connery in one of ABC TV's Armchair Theatre plays. In 1962 she played Sally Walker in The Six Proud Walkers . She also appeared in Out of This World and in an episode of Maigret.

Jacqueline Hill was friends with Doctor Who producer Verity Lambert, who suggested she should go forward for the role of Barbara.
William Russell will play Ian

William Russell is best known for playing the title role in The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the 1956 ITV series.

William Russell was born William Russell Enoch on 19 November 1924 in Sunderland. He was involved in organising entertainments during his national service in the Royal Air Force and then, after university, went into repertory theatre. He appeared in Hamlet in London's West End.

His first TV appearance came in 1940 in God Gave Him a Dog. Several other roles followed including playing Leslie Gowland in The Gay Dog, St. Ives in St. Ives and Count Rene D'Albert in Sword of Freedom.

His big break came in 1956 when he was cast as Sir Lancelot du Lac in The Adventures of Sir Lancelot. The series was made in colour and screened on ITV in the UK and on the NBC network in the United States nine days later. It is one of the very few British television series ever to have been screened on one of the major broadcast networks in the US and gave Russell recognition on both sides of the Atlantic.

Further success followed with the title roles in Nicholas Nickleby and David Copperfield as well as playing Hamlet in 1961. In 1963 he played St. John Rivers in Jane Eyre and also had a role in the feature film The Great Escape.
Next EpisodeThe Delia Mode
SOURCES: Hartnell, William Henry (1908–1975) by Robert Sharp, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press; The Handbook: The First Doctor – The William Hartnell Years: 1963-1966, David J Howe, Mark Stammers, Stephen James Walker (Doctor Who Books, 1994)

FILTER: - The Story of Doctor Who

BBC Worldwide to include 'Widow' on Series Seven Box SetBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 - Reported by Marcus
BBC Worldwide has bowed to fan pressure and agreed to include the 2011 Christmas special, The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe on the UK version of the Complete Series Seven DVD Boxed Set.

Although the episode has always been included on the North American version of the DVD set, it was excluded from the UK version on the grounds it was already available as a standalone product. However after lobbying from fans BBC Worldwide have reviewed their position and will now include the episode, originally shown on Christmas Day 2011, in the Series Seven Box set.

BBC Worldwide issued this statement explaining the position
Originally the decision was taken not to include this release on the box set as it had previously been released as a standalone product. However after listening to feedback from our fans we have decided to include the episode and its prequel on the set. The price of the set will not be altered as a result of the change of contents

Complete Series 7 - Cover (Credit: BBC Worldwide)The revised five disc set has a number of new features that were not orginally announced:
  • Audio commentaries for episodes: The Snowmen, Cold War, Hide, and The Crimson Horror
  • Prequels for: The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe, Asylum of the Daleks, The Snowmen (The Great Detective, Vastra Investigates, Demons Run: Two Days Later), The Bells of Saint John and The Name of the Doctor (She Said, He Said, Clarence and the Whispermen)
  • Pond Life
  • As Good as Gold (exclusive to the UK version)
  • Featurettes: The Making of the Gunslinger , Creating Clara, Rain Gods, Clara and the TARDIS, Inforarium, and Clara’s White Christmas
  • Behind the scenes featurettes for every episode (except The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe)
  • Additional features: Last Days of the Ponds, The Science of Doctor Who, The Companions, and Doctor Who at Comic Con

FILTER: - Doctor Who - Blu-ray/DVD - Series 7/33

The Radio Times Doctor Who Cover That Never WasBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
It's the Radio Times cover that could have been but never happened - publicising the first episode of Doctor Who back in November 1963.

A special two-page feature in the new edition of the listings magazine - out today and covering 3rd to 9th August 2013 - takes a look at how Doctor Who missed out on the prime Radio Times spot at its birth, including a modern-day mock-up of how the cover of that edition may have looked, and thanks to Immediate Media Co, which now publishes the magazine, Doctor Who News is delighted to bring you a clean version of that dummy front cover.

The Cover Story: Radio Times At 90 exhibition, which opens at the Museum of London at 150 London Wall this coming Friday to mark the publication's 90th birthday, has turned the spotlight on a document from the BBC archive that reveals the corporation's doubts about the programme that has subsequently appeared on the front of the magazine more times than any other show.

Back in 1963, Radio Times existed to publicise only the BBC's output, and an internal memo by Donald Wilson, head of the BBC's serials department, to Douglas Williams, then editor of the magazine, complained that the forthcoming launch of the programme on 23rd November 1963 was not being supported by Radio Times with a cover feature. Dated 5th November 1963, it read:
I was unhappy to hear to-day that the proposal to give 'Dr Who' the front page of the 'Radio Times' had now been abandoned. It was particularly distressing to hear that one reason given was lack of confidence in the programme at Controller [Kenneth Adam's] level. I assure you that this does not exist and if you have a word with [him] I know he will express enthusiasm. I myself believe that we have an absolute knock-out in this show and that there will be no question but that it will run and run.

I would be most grateful, if it is not too late, for the decision against it to be reversed, and that will help me to get this show off to a good start.
However, Wilson's pleas for a reprieve as regards front-page publicity for the show's first episode fell on deaf ears and the cover star for the issue ended up being Kenneth Horne, publicising his popular Light Programme radio comedy Beyond Our Ken, although the new sci-fi series was granted a short mention in a side panel on the front, highlighting an article on page 7 of the magazine. Doctor Who would ultimately have to wait another three months and for the start of its fourth serial - the epic historical adventure Marco Polo - before landing a coveted front cover.

Radio Times wasn't alone in having doubts about the show, though. Many within the BBC were also uncertain what to make of this odd-seeming new drama, as the show's first director Waris Hussein - who also directed Marco Polo - explains in the new edition of the magazine:
Radio Times echoed the prevailing attitude, and it was only when the programme began to make its mark that the magazine started to give it a prominent billing.

As far as I knew at the time, the BBC was fairly indifferent to [creator] Sydney Newman's whole concept of Doctor Who. This was echoed in the placing of the production in basic facilities at Studio D Lime Grove. . . [Producer] Verity Lambert and I were newcomers entrusted with what was considered a fill-in show for children between Saturday football and Juke Box Jury. There was no apparent need to promote an oddball show. . .

Radio Times covers are very important in promoting a show and in the case of Doctor Who I'm proud to say David finally became bigger than Goliath.
Meanwhile, current showrunner Steven Moffat comments on whether he would have pleaded for a cover if he were running things back in 1963:
It's a different show now. I knew Verity Lambert and part of her back then was amazed it broke through in the way it did. For them it was just the show they were doing at the time and they had no idea it would become what it was. But when I look back on the historic Doctor Who covers, I can imagine being a child again and looking at it and scrutinising it and probably thinking, 'I want to write my own stories for it.'
The full feature appears in the new edition of Radio Times.

A postcard set of 101 classic Radio Times covers - including six from Doctor Who - will be on sale at the exhibition, which will have a special display devoted to the magazine's long association with the programme. The Doctor Who covers in the set will be the 5th-11th November 1966 one for the start of The Power of the Daleks and the beginning of the Second Doctor's era, the 1st-7th January 1972 one for the Season 9 opener Day of the Daleks, the 26th March-1st April 2005 one heralding the show's return with Rose, the award-winning 30th April-6th May 2005 "Vote Dalek!" one for the episode Dalek, and the 8th-14th July 2006 Daleks and Cybermen ones for the Series 2 finale Doomsday (and World Cup final!).

The exhibition, which is free, opens on Friday 2nd August and runs until Sunday 3rd November.

FILTER: - UK - Exhibitions - First Doctor - Radio Times

Radio Times ExhibitionBookmark and Share

Sunday, 28 July 2013 - Reported by Marcus
The new exhibition marking Radio Times's 90th anniversary opens at the Museum of London this week, complete with a special section dedicated to Doctor Who.

Covers of the listings magazine, which launched on 28 September 1923, will be displayed at the museum. Doctor Who was denied a cover for its launch in 1963, so first graced the front of the magazine in February 1964 for a cover promoting the historical story Marco Polo. Since then the series has been featured a number of times.

The exhibition will contain a life-size Dalek against a backdrop of Westminster Bridge, recreating the famous 2005 "Vote Dalek" Radio Times cover, which was voted the Cover of the Century by the Periodical Publishers Association.

Other highlights in the exhibition include a 1920s Marconi valve radio and a 1941 Luftwaffe map that pinpoints the Radio Times's Waterlows printing plant in London as an air-raid target alongside transport hubs, factories and national landmarks.

The exhibition runs from 2nd August until 3rd November 2013 at the Museum which is located at London Wall in the City of London. Entry is free.

FILTER: - Doctor Who - Exhibitions - Radio Times

BBC issues statement on Comic-Con trailer availabilityBookmark and Share

Saturday, 27 July 2013 - Reported by Harry Ward
50th Anniversary Special: First Official Dalek photo (Credit: BBC Doctor Who) The BBC has issued a statement regarding the 50th Anniversary Episode trailer that was shown at San Diego Comic-Con on Sunday. Fans have been expressing their disappointment at not being able to watch the trailer online.
This was an exclusive Comic Con trailer made especially for the Doctor Who 50th panel, it has not been released in the US.

This world famous international event is an established platform used by all of the major producers. UK fans can look forward to exclusive content over the next few months.
While Matt Smith was being interviewed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on Wednesday, Craig asked if fans who were not at Comic Con would be "mad" for not seeing the trailer. Matt apologised to fans saying, "Sorry to all of those who haven't seen the trailer".

FILTER: - Day of the Doctor - BBC

The Curse of Fenric and Survival on UKTVBookmark and Share

Saturday, 27 July 2013 - Reported by Paul Scoones


Sunday 28th July sees the broadcast of the 1989 Sylvester McCoy stories, The Curse of Fenric and Survival on Australian and New Zealand television. The stories are presented as part of the 50th Anniversary season of Doctor Who on the UKTV channel.

Karra, [Cat person] played by Lisa Bowerman
In Australia The Curse of Fenric screens at 3:00pm and Survival at 5:00pm.

In New Zealand The Curse of Fenric screens at 3:25pm and Survival at 5:05pm with additional screenings on Monday 29th July at 2:55am and 4:35am respectively.

No billing information has been provided for The Curse of Fenric, but the listing for Survival describes the story as follows:
The Seventh Doctor brings Ace back to her home of Perivale. Her friends are being kidnapped by a race of alien hunters who were shown the way to Earth by the Doctor's old enemy the Master.
The two stories were first broadcast in New Zealand July-September 1990 and in Australia in November of the same year.

UKTV is showing stories throughout the year in the lead-up to the anniversary in November. Next week sees the broadcast of Doctor Who (the TV Movie) in both countries on 4th August.

Australia and New Zealand's schedules are entirely different for the remainder of August.

Australia has Doctor Who Proms (11 Aug), Doctor Who America Specials: The Science of Doctor Who and The Timey Wimey Stuff of Doctor Who (18 Aug), and Doctor Who America Specials: The Destinations of Doctor Who and The Women of Doctor Who.

New Zealand's line-up includes: The Dalek Invasion of Earth (11 Aug), The Three Doctors (18 Aug), and Pyramids of Mars (25 Aug).

Up-and-coming broadcasts from both 20th and 21st Century series of Doctor Who can be found via UKTV's Doctor Who sections for Australia and New Zealand.

FILTER: - Classic Series - WHO50 - New Zealand - Australia

Character: 50th Anniversary Doctor Micro-FiguresBookmark and Share

Friday, 26 July 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Character have announced the release of a new collection of micro-figures for each of the eleven current Doctors.

Character Building: 50th Anniversary Doctor micro-figures (Credit: Character)As the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who moves ever closer, a brand new ultimate range of Doctor Who micro-figures featuring all 11 incarnations of the Doctors will be released for the Character Building collection.

The latest series of Character Building Doctor Who micro-figures features all 11 incarnations of the Doctor. Each highly detailed and fully articulated micro-figure is sealed within a bag to keep the figure hidden, giving a surprise each time. Finding them all will be a challenge as some figures will be harder to find than others.

Within the new range, certain incarnations of the Time Lord will be classed as Rare, Super Rare or Ultra Rare:
  • Rare - Tenth Doctor, with just 500 pieces in circulation
  • Super Rare - Third and Fifth Doctor with only 250 pieces
  • Ultra Rare - Second and Eleventh Doctor with merely 100 pieces each to be found

Each comes with its own display base and collector’s leaflet highlighting all the characters available in this special series. Whether, Rare, Super Rare, Ultra Rare or one of the remaining six, these micro-figures will make treasured mementoes in a landmark year. The question is... Who will be the first to collect them all?

FILTER: - Merchandise - Character - WHO50

Anniversary Episode To Have Simultaneous Global BroadcastBookmark and Share

Friday, 26 July 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The 50th-anniversary episode of Doctor Who is to be broadcast around the world at the same time, it has been revealed.

It is believed the deal has been struck with global networks to prevent any spoilers and plot leaks, and is set to make it the world's biggest drama simulcast when it goes out on Saturday 23rd November.

In a statement, BBC Worldwide said:
It's always been our ambition to work with our broadcast partners so that international Doctor Who fans can enjoy the 50th-anniversary special at the same time as the UK. We'll have more details soon about our very exciting global plans for November.
The episode, whose title is yet to be publicly announced, will be shown in both 2D and 3D.

The time differences around the world mean that an evening transmission in the UK on the Saturday would see it being shown earlier the same day in North America and early on Sunday 24th November in Australia and New Zealand.

FILTER: - Day of the Doctor - Leading News - Broadcasting